There are few places in the world that manage to capture the spirit of adventure quite like Cappadocia, on the arid Anatolian planes of Turkey. The whimsical landscape conjures up thoughts of otherworldly locations. The stark, deserted land feels like being transported to the moon.
The landscape is magical enough, but add to it hundreds of floating hot air balloons and you’ve got yourself a perfectly put together dreamland, sure to enter into your nocturnal fantasies for years to come. Each morning at dawn eager tourists file into these floating globes to fly over the scorched moonscape and between towering volcanic summits up to 4,000 metres high. As the balloons fill, so the air of anticipation builds, until the moment the basket is lifted gently from the ground, with only a wobbling platform to protect the adventurous travellers from the long drop below.
At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking that this dry land would be inhospitable. As you float upwards you’ll see the ash-filled soil – formed by the Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan volcanoes over 2 million years ago – has created a fertile land dotted with verdant vineyards and orchards. As you fly high above the plains you’ll also spot adobe houses affectionately known as ‘fairy chimneys’ which have been carved from the soft volcanic rock. Over the centuries the houses have protected some of the region’s nomadic people from the harsh elements outside.
Once the balloon reaches optimal cruising altitude, you’ll find yourself lost in the sound of silence, with a honeycombed landscape unfolding in front of you, peak by peak. The eerie quiet will be punctuated only with the sounds of cameras clicking, vying to do this incredible landscape justice. But be sure to pause for a moment, put the camera away and soak in those views without the aid of technology. After all, there aren’t many places on Earth that inspire such wonder and awe. Take this moment and allow yourself to feel the power of nature in all its glory.